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Different products,different answers.

Chicken pieces,fish,small slabs of ribs,may be a very light even sprinkle

Big meats you may use several ounces per cut.

The idea can be to get as much to stick,as possible-since that aids your bark formation.

I don't spend much time on the "rubbing" part.

Hope this helps a little.
I dont ever really do much rubbing. If I apply a rub, I usually just sprinkle it on. If I want to make sure it sticks good, I may pat it or even rub it a little, but its really about getting it to stick. Lately on my ribs I have been applying a light coating of mustard then sprinkling the rub on that. It helps the rub stcick better and no my ribs dont taste like mustard!
I've sprayed mine with a vegetable spray oil, like olive oil so the rub will stick better. However, if you just dump it on, let it sit and soak up the moisture in the meat, the salt in the rub will start to pull more moisture out and you can do a second and even third dusting with the rub to build up a thick layer. With thick meats I don't think you can put on too much rub. At least not the CS stuff. Home made rubs might have too much salt or other things to interfere with the meat's flavor. The CS rubs I've not had any problems with.

Rub is what you want to make of it. It will depend on the meat, the rub itself (large or small granules).

I find the time applied to the meat has more impact than the rubbing. Some things you want on overnight to they impart more flavor (beef) , and some you don't (pork).

My take is I don't use oils, mustards, anything like that to make the rub "stick". I've found, if I apply and let it sit, the salt will bring moisture to the top and then it works fine.

But both are methods that many people use.

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